TOP chef Alan Murchison, who trained at Raymond Blanc’s cookery school at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, has opened his latest restaurant at The Bear in Woodstock.

The 10 in 8 Fine Dining Group, founded by Mr Murchison in 2009, has teamed up with The Bear’s owners, Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, to run the restaurant and bar.

Mr Murchison said: “I know and love the Oxfordshire area well because I spent five happy years here working with Raymond and I think The Bear is ideal for us. It feels right.

“I know there is a lot of competition in the area but our aim is to exceed customers’ expectations, and I feel we can do that because there is so much excellent local produce available. This is a big opportunity for us.

“We are opening the main restaurant and three private dining rooms now and plan to open a Fine Dining Room, The Silk Glove, in December.”

Mr Murchison worked as a sous chef for M Blanc during the late 1990s before becoming senior chef there and, finally, cooking school director.

He left Le Manoir in 2003 to found, together with Richard Persey, the restaurant L’Ortolan, in Shinfield, near Reading – which was awarded a Michelin star the same year and has retained it ever since.

The 10 in 8 Group was named three years ago to reflect its ambition to achieve 10 Michelin stars in eight years.